A mishandled go-around in blustery conditions led to the fatal crash of a Jabiru J170 at Yarram last year, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report released today.
The aircraft, registered with Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) as 24-5215, crashed after a failed attempt to land on 7 September 2016 whilst on a solo navigational exercise. The 72-year-old pilot died at the scene.
After the aircraft became unstable on touch-down, the pilot attempted a go-around, putting the aircraft into a 30-degree banked turn only 50-100 feet above the ground. The ATSB believe the Jabiru stalled and impacted the ground nearly vertically.
"Upon reaching the threshold of runway 09 at Yarram aerodrome, the aircraft was likely subject to mechanical turbulence resulting in the mishandling of the landing or 'touch-and-go' attempt," the ATSB report states. "The pilot inadvertently mishandled the subsequent go-around leading to the aircraft's low altitude aerodynamic stall and collision with terrain.
The ATSB found that the mechanical turbulence at the threshold of runway 09 was caused by trees and hangars on the north-eastern airfield perimeter, a known problem in gusting ENE winds.
"This information was not published in the Airservices Australia En Route Supplement Australia entry for Yarram aerodrome.
"The pilot was also likely affected by physical and mental fatigue given their age, medical history and recent physical labour. Fatigue’s effect on attention, reaction time, and vigilance likely exacerbated the pilot’s mishandling of the landing attempt and the subsequent go-around."
The pilot had flown from Tooradin to Latrobe Valley before continuing to Yarram. The exercised called for the flight to track via Fish Creek, but GPS data showed the pilot over-flew Foster instead. The pilot appeared also to have made no inbound CTAF calls at Yarram, which the ATSB says could indicate fatigue.
The full report is on the ATSB website.